Artiste: Royal Blu
Name: Sean-Michael Francis
Why do you do what you do?
I remember having a conversation with my brother Taj a few years back. And we talked about being the change and all the positive additions that we’d like to see and hear. So I guess that’s why I do what I do, to bring something to the space that I feel there wasn’t enough of.
When did you realize you had a passion for what you do?
I realized I had a passion in high school. I would write songs more than I’d do my schoolwork. I was infatuated with the idea of becoming better at my craft.
What is your educational background?
My educational background is that I went to Meadowbrook High School. [I] decided not to go to college because I felt like I would have wasted time and my people’s money.
What are some of the challenges you faced while trying to pursue your passion?
Some of the challenges I faced was that music wasn’t seen as a real profession, the way I approached music for a while wasn’t necessarily a traditional one in terms of relatability and familiarity in Jamaica. [Also], access to studios, access to producers, you name it … was all very limited for a while.
Have you ever encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams and how did you deal with it?
For the most part I’ve always been supported. I think my mom was just concerned at first because I was just in that weird teenage phase where she didn’t really understand me. But after a while she just trusted me 100%.
How do you react to those individuals now?
I really try to just not have a chip on my shoulder and focus on my goals mostly.
What are some of the fears you face within your journey today?
Failure. Just failure. And disappointment.
How do you deal with those fears?
I just try to remind myself that people love and support me and I didn’t have to beg them or pay them. That, to me, is one of the greatest gifts you can have.
One major achievement can trump many losses. I just need to stay focused and remember why I do what I do.
How do you work, what is the method to your “madness” and how do you filter your creativity?
How I work is that I try not to force creativity. But at the same time I work well under pressure and with deadlines. So it’s just a balance of living a normal life and not feeling guilty for not always being creative, while still capitalizing on those moments when I get a rush of creativity. No matter what I’m doing, I have to stop and jot down words and ideas.
What role do your believe the artist has in society?/how do you feel your artform has the power to benefit society/how do wish it would impact society?
The role artistes play in society is to be the voice for the voiceless. Be a representative for the people who don’t have a platform to express the things they would like to express. I feel as if my voice is soothing, calming and maybe even healing. So I would love to help people get through their day to day lives with my music.
Out of all your bodies of work which piece resonates with you most?
Sing with God.
Where do you see yourself going?
To the absolute top.
By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?
I think what makes my music special is that I step away from it once I feel like I’ve done enough. I personally don’t like to revisit songs too much because it can ruin the initial feeling. There’s never a moment when I think it’s finished, but at some point it isn’t about me anymore. It’s about the people who need it.
What elements of your career bring you the most stress and how do you deal with it?
The business aspect of it is extremely stressing. Mainly because it’s all about algorithms and numbers, smoke and mirrors, etc. I just deal with it by not taking anything personal as long as I can create.
The word “Ubuntu” means “I am because we are”; how have you seen that reflected in your own life?
Most recently, I’ve seen that reflected in my life through this pandemic. We are literally the solution and the problem. Including myself.
What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?
Stick to the ones who love and support you unconditionally.
What is something(quote or reminder) that you live by?
“Beware that when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“The role artistes play in society is to be the voice for the voiceless. Be a representative for the people who don’t have a platform to express the things they would like to express.”
~ Sean-Michael (Royal Blu) Francis